Choosing the most effective supplements for your body

The old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a good rule of thumb to follow for getting in much-needed vitamins and nutrients.

Experts at Yale University found nine essential vitamins people should add to their diets to ensure proper health, according to “Eat This, Not That!” :

  1. Vitamin A: Found in baked sweet potatoes, beef liver and raw carrots
  2. Vitamin C: Found in red peppers, bake white potatoes and orange juice
  3. Vitamin D: Found in skim milk, cod liver oil and rainbow trout
  4. Vitamin E: Found in sunflower seeds, dry roasted almonds and peanut butter
  5. Vitamin K: Found in raw spinach, frozen broccoli and raw kale
  6. Vitamin B2: Found in portobello mushrooms, clams and plain yogurt
  7. Vitamin B3: Found in chicken breasts, canned tuna and marinara sauce
  8. Vitamin B9: Found in white rice, black-eyed peas and frozen spinach
  9. Vitamin B12: Found in ground beef, Atlantic salmon and nutritional yeast fortified with B12

But what do you do when you can’t get in that apple, banana or beef liver, or find it difficult to even maintain a healthy overall diet?

That’s when many of us turn to supplements to help give our bodies the vitamins and nutrients they need to properly function.

Supplements are a quick and easy way to get in your daily dose of vitamins, but there can be some risks involved such as overuse, ineffective products and wasting your money.

With reports showing dietary sales skyrocketing as much as 51.2% in March 2020 alone due to attempts to battle the COVID-19 virus, knowing what is and isn’t beneficial to your health is important.

Emek Blair, founder of Valimenta Labs and CELLg8. (Photo credit Valimenta)

Emek Blair, who has a doctorate in chemistry and founded of Valimenta Labs and CELLg8 in Wellington, talked with the Greeley Tribune about how to choose the right supplements for the most positive health effects. While diet is the optimal source for vitamin consumption, it’s not always the easiest and most ideal way, Blair said.

“Let’s face it, the tomato we eat today is not the tomato we ate in the 70s,” he explained. “The average tomato today has a brace index, which is used to measure the quality and how much nutrition a tomato has, that in 1975 would have been a fail and thrown in the trash. So, 1970s trash is what our produce is today, which is really sad.”

The lack of nutritional value in our foods makes taking supplements even more important.

“Nutrition and health are not just about what you eat,” Blair said. “It’s about absorbing appropriately. Users just want to take their vitamin supplement and want it to work, but there is more they need to know — not all are created equal.”

In addition, the pills themselves may not be as effective as we would like to think they are. Once taken, most tablets just sit in the stomach.

“As it turns out, the pill goes in one end and comes out the other end whole. It doesn’t usually break apart,” Blair said. “If you talk with people who deal port-a-potties, they will say that is one of their challenges. They have to deal with a whole bunch of multivitamin pills and dispose of them.”

Hard pill-form vitamins are designed to be a pellet, not to be food, Blair added.

The delivery model for vitamins that Blair uses in his lab copies pretty much what nature has already created. Blair’s vitamins mimic how nutrition is delivered through breast milk.

“The same way a newborn baby gets nutrition from their mother, basically a vitamin wrapped up in fat, or nutrients in little fat bubbles, we do the exact same thing,” he explained. “We take fat from sunflower seeds and wrap it around nutrition like vitamins, minerals, CBD and other things. Your body recognizes it for what it is — nutrition — and absorbs it like it would in food.”

Using supplements may not be the best way to get much needed vitamins and minerals into your diet. (Greeley Tribune file photo)

Blair’s company manufactures vitamin products for a variety of supplement companies such as Moon Juice, Bulletproof and Solaray.

No matter what brand of supplements you are looking to purchase, the online health magazine “HealthLine” offers a few tips for finding the most effective vitamins for your money and health.

The Food and Drug Administration has very little regulation over the vitamin and supplement industry so seeking data from third-party testing organizations is helpful in rooting out which brand of supplements have the best results.

Products that have been certified by a third-party company are typically tested for one or more of the following:

  • The supplement contains what is stated on the label and in the amounts listed.
  • Products are standardized from batch to batch.
  • Supplements are free from harmful levels of contaminants.
  • Products don’t contain any undeclared ingredients.

Some products sold by multi-level marketing companies such as Herbalife are not tested through third-party organizations for safety or accuracy and as a result, consumers could be spending a lot of money on ineffective or low-quality supplements.

A balanced diet influences health goals, as well as health conditions, activity, lifestyle and many other factors.
A balanced diet influences health goals, as well as health conditions, activity, lifestyle and many other factors.

The National Institutes of Health suggests consumers ask themselves the following questions when considering taking supplements:

  • What are the potential benefits?
  • Does this product have any safety risks?
  • What is the proper dose to take?
  • How, when and for how long should I take it?

“Just because something is natural, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy,” Blair said. “There are pitfalls you have to watch out for when taking vitamin supplements. For example, the mindset that ‘A little is good, and a lot is better,’ is not always true. In fact, that can be dangerous.”

As always, when in doubt, consult your doctor or a pharmacist for guidance.

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